C20 Sustainability Working Group- G20 must take action on fossil fuel subsidies ahead of Paris climate talks

G20 leaders meeting in Turkey this week must tell the world how they plan to phase out fossil fuel subsidies by 2020 or risk being seen as dragging its feet, a high-level sustainability forum declared today.

The G20 promised to phase out fossil fuel subsidies completely in 2009. But G20 governments still pump US$452bn annually into exploration for and production of fossil fuels, according to a report from the Overseas Development Institute released last week. [1]

The C20 Sustainability Working Group [2] made the recommendation ahead of this week’s G20 summit in Antalya, Turkey, which will be the last opportunity for world leaders to discuss climate change before the UN climate summit taking place in Paris in two weeks time.

Samantha Smith, Global Climate and Energy Initiative Lead at WWF-International said: “With the world about to meet in Paris to come to agreement on climate, we need to see the G20 make good on its promise and provide a clear plan for ending inefficient fossil fuel subsidies in the final G20 communique. Fossil fuel subsidies aren’t just bad for the climate, they also ignore the rising health costs of air pollution, the falling returns on fossil fuel exploration, and the technological innovation which makes low-carbon energy systems the smart investment choice.”

Srinivas Krishnaswamy of Vasudha Foundation, India and co-chair of the C-20 Sustainability Working Group added that “the issue of clean, affordable, sustainable access to energy in all countries should be a priority area for the G20 countries. G20 countries should ensure that finance and technology access go to developing countries so that they can provide modern, clean energy to their citizens. Clearly, evidence from many developing countries shows that coal and fossil fuel generation has not adequately addressed the issue of access to energy.”

Cem Iskender Aydin, a Turkish representative in C20 Sustainability Working Group Steering Committee, added: “As a G20 Presidency, Turkey also has important responsibility to secure concrete action about most dangerous and polluting spending of the governments. Fossil Fuel Subsidies are damaging economy, triggering climate change and also creating social problems; therefore they should be immediately phased out. However, it is also important to indicate that Turkey should stop subsidizing coal and immediately cancel all new coal projects. “

The working group also recommended strong leadership from the G20 on providing climate finance for renewable energy, energy conservation and capacity building to address climate change. An ambitious programme of climate finance ahead of the Paris meeting should include committing new public money to help developing countries adapt to the impacts of climate change, the C20 said.






For more detailed policy papers developed by the C20 Working Groups: www.c20turkey.org 

The G20 Heads of State Summit is being held in Antalya, Turkey on 15 – 16 November. This wealthy and powerful bloc of countries represents two-thirds of the world’s population, 85 percent of the global GDP and over 75 percent of global trade.

However, wealth does not guarantee an automatic reduction in discriminatory outcomes for economically excluded sections of society, especially women, young people and other marginalised groups. Unless benefits of economic growth reach everyone, particularly the most disadvantaged, the global economic, social and political predicament is likely to deteriorate.

Civil 20 (C20), one of the six formal G20 engagement groups, seeks to communicate policy propositions to G20 leaders in order to promote sustainable and inclusive development.

This media brief gives an overview of some of the critical issues facing today’s world that are up for discussion in Turkey – inclusive growth, tax justice, climate change, gender equality, migration crisis and anti-corruption. The recommendations presented here draw on contributions from over 5,000 individuals and close to 600 civil society organizations from 91 countries worldwide.

Climate change

76 percent of global fossil fuel emissions come from G20 countries; and more than 1.4bn people do not have access to electricity. In 2010, out of the US$409bn spent on fossil-fuel subsidies, only US$35bn, or 8 percent of the total, reached the poorest 20 percent.

The C20 calls upon G20 leaders to agree on a fair and equitable long term emission reduction and decarbonisation goal; take immediate action to completely and equitably phase out fossil fuel subsidies by 2020 and significantly increase public climate finance; plus make energy efficiency and renewable energy an infrastructure investment priority.

Inclusive growth

The bottom half of the world’s population owns the same amount of wealth as the richest 85 people in the world; and seven out of ten people live in countries where economic inequality has increased in the last 30 years.

The C20 calls upon G20 leaders to systematically track the income growth rates of the poorest 40 percent against the richest 10 percent and modify growth strategies, by facilitating access to social protection and public services including quality education; guaranteeing a living wage; and strengthening civil society participation in policy-making processes.

Tax justice

Following the financial crisis and a spate of high profile corporate tax dodging scandals, the G20 mandated the OECD to come up with a package of measures to tackle aggressive tax avoidance by multinational companies. In response, the OECD set up the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) process in 2013 to redefine international tax rules in order to curb profit shifting activity. G20 Finance Ministers endorsed the OECD tax package and the reforms will be formally adopted by the G20 Heads of State in Turkey. The BEPS tax package is a step forward, however, the measures contained within it simply patch up the existing rules, making them more complex and, in many cases, contradictory.

The C20 calls upon G20 leaders to support a second round of deeper global tax reforms that involve all countries on an equal footing in negotiating new rules, to ensure that multinational companies pay tax where they do business.

Gender equality

Women earn approximately 77 percent of what men earn; and pay equity between women and men will not be achieved before 2086 if it stays at the current rate. If women’s paid employment rates were the same as men’s, the USA’s GDP would increase by 9 percent, the Eurozone’s by 13 percent, and Japan’s by 16 percent.

The C20 calls upon G20 leaders to recognize and reduce women’s unpaid work through paid family care leave and paid care work; create gender-responsıve policies, such as, penalizing gender based discrimination at work and introducing gender quotas for employment; and set up national mechanisms to monitor its gender commitments.

Migration crisis

There are nearly 60 million displaced people around the globe as conflicts continue to rage in all regions. More people have been forced to flee their homes than at any time since World War II and the number is rising.

The C20 calls upon G20 leaders to work towards the recognition of refugees’ right to work, and enact measures to make this right a reality, including working with others on job creation and skills development programs to benefit refugees and host communities alike; agree to resettle a fair proportion of Syrian refugees; and increase funding available to meet refugees’ immediate needs.


Corruption undermines economic growth as about 5 percent of global GDP is lost to corruption each year. The OECD estimates that between 20 and 25 percent of public procurement budgets are siphoned away from the services and infrastructure they were meant to provide. The G20 will adopt high level principles on integrity in public procurement when they meet in Turkey.

 The C20 calls upon G20 leaders to publish national action plans on implementing the G20 Beneficial Ownership Transparency Principles; adopt concrete measures to increase transparency in public procurement; and improve the quality, quantity and timeliness of government-released data to be accessible and usable by all. 

C20 Turkey is facilitated by a committee of 14 civil society organizations working at national and international levels to promote sustainable development and tackle inequalities.

 The C20 Turkey Steering Committee comprises the following organizations:  TÜSEV (Third Sector Foundation of Turkey), Habitat, Transparency International Turkey, WWF Turkey, IKV (Economic Development Foundation), KEDV (The Foundation for the Support of Women’s Work), TEGV (Education Volunteers Foundation of Turkey), TOG (Community Volunteers Foundation), Turkish Confederation of People Living with Disabilities, Women Entrepreneurs Association of Turkey (KAGİDER), Oxfam, Turkey Europe Foundation. Additionally, The Foundation for the Protection of Natural Habitats and Combating Soil Erosion (TEMA) and The Mother Child Education Foundation (AÇEV) are observer members.

 The C20 Turkey Steering Committee is chaired by Zeynep Bodur Okyay, Vice President of the Board of Directors of IKV. The C20 Steering Committee is supported by a secretariat, while an International Advisory Committee provides strategic guidance.

Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) – NYC and NYS pension funds should divest coal stocks: A shrinking industry, weak upside, and wrong on climate change

“The New York State and City public pension funds, collectively valued at over $300 billion, should divest their holdings in coal mining companies. The current position of the U.S. coal industry, and increasingly that of coal producers worldwide, is weak. And the worst is yet to come.”

Stranded assets information from Carbon Tracker is now available in key languages

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[Infographic] Spending Billions to Destroy Our Climate

According to a new report by Oil Change international and the Overseas Development Institute, the G20 countries provide $452 billion in subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, while only $121 billion goes to subsidizing clean, renewable energy.

Share this widely and help spread the word on social media! Tell G20 leaders that #theworldiswatching.


[Infographic] Fossil Fuels Favoured for Subsidies Over Renewable Energy

According to a new report by Oil Change international and the Overseas Development Institute, the G20 countries provide $452 billion in subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, while only $121 billion goes to subsidizing clean, renewable energy.

Share this widely and help spread the word on social media! Tell G20 leaders that #theworldiswatching.